CTS For the background study of our Faith in a multi-faith and post-established Christianity world, it is not enough to have a library of saints' lives — even if we could find them as of old.
Living is many-faceted, but fortunately so is the supply of paperbacks: they are very "resourceful" and they cost for the most part less than a pound. Every adult can find what he should know about the beliefs of his neighbours in the Penguin sympathetic series on World Religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and so on.
And to get greater understanding, can add actual texts —the Koran, the Upanishads, Buddhist Scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita, the Penguin Book of Japanese Verse, and African verse.
The Paternoster Press has Patrick Sookhdea's Asians in Britain: A Christian Understanding (80p).
The Search Press Migrant Women Speak, and the International Defence Aid Fund publishes a whole series of books like Allen Cook's The Imprisoned Society that opens out the problems of other people which should exercise Christians.
A most useful handbook is Religion in the Multi-faith School produced by the Yorkshire Committee for Corn munity Relations. For 60p a teacher can have, besides much practical curriculum and lesson help, lists of books for adults and for children of all ages, on every world faith. There are also cautions about how to use these resource books.
In the same reasonable price bracket there are the Christian Devotional series of the
Religious Education Press; for younger readers, Black's Look
ing at Other Lands, the series Families and Faith which give descriptions of the day-to-day life of Hindus, West Indians, Muslims, etc, that make for a better understanding of the immigrant children in the schools.
Fascinating painting books at 25p Let's look at . . give knowledge of Thailand, the Philippines, and other Far Eastern countries. The same paperback sources provide at different levels explanations of the different Christian Churches by members of these denominations — necessary knowledge in an ecumenical world.
Living in the world today requires us to be aware of social conditions. The Penguin and Pelican libraries again have a wide range. Barbara Ward and Rene Dubos's Only One Earth, Jeremy Bugler's Polluting Bri t a in (Pelicans) and Schumaker's Small Is Beautiful (Sphere Books) are fundamental.
Michael Wilson's Health is for People (DLT 1.95) is valuable background for think ing of social welfare in terms of human beings. Agencies like CHAS and CAFOD have publications to fit all ages. The national Commissions (for Racial Justice, Social Welfare) publish key booklets from time to time.
Inspiration in life comes mostly fain, people: these are those who have shown what it is to live worthily and at the service of others. Again paper backs step into the breach,and give us lives of people noncanonised and perhaps non canonisable, who have done things in life bet-Anse of their commitment to G. Fontana's The General Next to God (William Booth), Kevin Mayhew's Sailing the Course (William Ullathorne) and I 'believe in Youth (Canon Cardijn), Unesco's All Men are Brothers (Gandhi) Mentor's Here I Stand (Martin Luther King) and. The Diary of Ann Frank (Pan) give historical examples.
There is besides a large area of more modern bio_graphy — David Wilkerson's The Cross and the Switchblade, and Beyond the Cross and the Switchblade (Lakeland), Robert Roberts' A Ragged Schooling, Hodder and Stoughton's Christian Paperbacks like Run Baby Run, the story of Nicky Cruz, Catherine Marshall's Beyond Ourselves and Something More, and Stuart Harvester's Doctor in the Orient; Gina Vianney's Martin (Redemptorist Press) and lives of Mother Teresa are all in varying ways inspirational and could well find their place on parish or school library shelves.
But fiction should play its part too in educating to a wider concept of Christian living and here there is no lack of resources. For children the Narnia Stories of C. S. Lewis (and his Pilgrim's Regress for older folk ) Salkey's stories like Hurricane, Serraillier's Silver Sword, Wilde's The Happy Prince, Holm's I Am David, de Jong's Wheel on the School provide experiences of the spiritual dimension of ordinary life and material for thinking.
For adults books like Chaim Potok's In the Bei:Inning (Penguin) have the same folicLion of expanding human sympathies and showing the workmg out of what has been learnt as static doctrine in a real world situation. And any collection of resource books would be incomplete without Watership Down, and Jonathan Livingstone's Seagull.
These resource books are concerned with the stuff of living in the real world of today and indicate the kinds of books to go to if we are to understand life in a technological age where a Christian has to act as a Christian in a Third World that is not only overseas but also in our midst. M.K.R.